Report back on Colombia’s agrarian and popular mobilization
Colombia in focus ⬿

Report back on Colombia’s agrarian and popular mobilization

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John Ahni Schertow
November 1, 2007

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On October 10, 2007, thousands of indigenous People, farmers, unionists, teachers, students, and activists demonstrated throughout Colombia as part of the National Popular and Agrarian Mobilization, a day of action that was first called on by the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra Valley (ACVC), shortly after the Sept. 29 detention of four ACVC leaders.

Over a dozen actions were organized throughout Colombia, mobilizing upwards of 20,000 people– some getting started on October 9, and others continuing through the days ahead. Fortunately, the state didn’t intervene or try to supress many of the actions.

In Cundinamarca, 15 peasant families marched to a farm located in the village of La Victoria, as an act of reclaiming the land that was taken from them; and in Barrancabermeja, around 200 farmers gathered to participate in a workshop conducted by the corporation AVRE, during which they addressed issues about the political violence that’s occurred in the region in recent years.

The demonstration in Cacua however, was not so calm. In the municipality of Mondomo, more than 3000 People marched, successfully blockading the Panamerican highway until Police and Security forces arrived to break it up. According to the Associated Press, they arrested eight and injured at least three other protesters.

Finally, despite considerable state effort to prevent it, over 20,000 People gathered in Ibagué, effectively putting ‘regular city life’ into a state of shock.

Consistently throughout these and other events–which includes actions in the districts of Putomayo, Narino, and Valle– and despite the considerable demobilization efforts of the government leading up to October 10, the People successfully planted a seed in Colombia–creating a public, national demand for the resignation of President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the repeal of the legislative package that threatens Colombia’s agrarian reform program, and the discarding of the pending free trade agreement with the United States

We can only hope this seed will be nurtured and protected so it may flourish in the months and years ahead. It simply must.

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